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By Steve Levy

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About this blog: I grew up in Los Angeles and moved to the area in 1963 when I started graduate school at Stanford. Nancy and I were married in 1977 and we lived for nearly 30 years in the Duveneck school area. Our children went to Paly. We moved ...  (More)

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Jobs Update

Uploaded: Aug 22, 2015
The July jobs report was issued yesterday by the state Employment Development Department and it was a standout month for job growth in the state and region.

More than 80,000 jobs were added statewide this looks really high and could be revised down a bit next month) and 490,000 for the past 12 months. The average of over 40,000 added jobs per month has reduced the state's above average unemployment rate to 6.2%, the lowest since February 2008 but still above the national 5.3% rate. Job growth has allowed the state unemployment rate to fall from a high of 12.2% allowing many people to reenter the workforce but remains above full employment levels in most areas.

The Bay Area saw an increase of more than 25,000 jobs seasonally adjusted and a gain of over 140,000 jobs in the past 12 months including 60,000 in the San Jose metro area that includes Santa Clara and San Benito counties. Our metro area had a year over year increase of 6% or nearly triple the national 2.1% job growth rate.

There was more good news in the composition of job gains. Nearly all the gains in our metro area were in middle and higher wage industries. Statewide there were gains in construction, manufacturing and the transportation sector?all good sources of middle wage jobs. At the same time jobs in information and professional services surged.

The gains have spread beyond the Bay Area with Southern California, San Diego and (finally) the Sacramento region outpacing national job growth.

Many challenges remain. The state faces a housing shortage and rent and home price increases that far outpace income growth. Housing production, particularly for multi-family units, has picked up though still far below levels needed to dig into the large shortage of units in the Bay Area and across the state created by years of low building levels.

While recent growth has added to middle and high wage jobs, jobs in low wage sectors continue to grow and real wages are below 2007 levels in many occupations.

Infrastructure needs in transportation, water and other areas remain far above current funding levels. Additional housing and infrastructure construction are the most immediate and effective ways to increase middle wage jobs.

State and local revenues are growing and this year's state budget allocated substantial additional funding for education. Still, the growth of retirement benefits for public employees remains a challenge for finding shared responsibility solutions.

The future of California depends on our children, their education and opportunities. The state budget has made progress in funding education with an emphasis on at risk students and the state is exploring ways to reduce the cost of higher education. But these children's success will determine our future and we need to keep them uppermost in our minds.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by L Skyline, a resident of Woodside: Kings Mountain/Skyline,
on Aug 22, 2015 at 5:49 pm

"Our metro area had a year over year increase of 6% or nearly triple the national 2.1% job growth rate."

Oh, sure.

portion deleted

Posted by Steve Levy, a Almanac Online blogger,
on Aug 22, 2015 at 7:15 pm

Steve Levy is a registered user.

Yes Skyline, it was 6% or over 60,000 added jobs over the past 12 months. There are the numbers from the EDD press release

Jul-2014 Jul-2015 Change

1,001,400 1,063,000 61,600

Posted by L Skyline, a resident of Woodside: Kings Mountain/Skyline,
on Aug 23, 2015 at 8:01 pm

This blog needs a sarcasm font. I wasn't questioning the data.

Posted by Todd, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Aug 24, 2015 at 2:42 pm

Steve, what I think is missing from these discussions is for someone who is near the end of their career or retired, who owns their own home and protected from the consequences but not benefits of appreciation, who doesn't have to worry about transportation as forced accommodation of cars is not only mandated but unquestioned, why should they care?

Posted by stephen levy, a resident of University South,
on Aug 24, 2015 at 3:03 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

Todd, that is an interesting perspective. I will speak for myself,

I am near the end of my work life and own our home in Palo Alto. We have underground parking and walk mostly everywhere.

Nancy and I care for a few reasons. The economic growth has allowed many residents to rejoin the workforce after a long recession.

It has provided funds that are allowing cities and school districts to rehire people and improve services.

The recovery has helped the state budget allocate more resources to education.

While much of this does not directly affect Nancy or myself, we do care about the community, region and state in which we live and where our son and daughter in law are expecting our first grandchild.

But I completely understand if your perspective is different.

Posted by Todd, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Aug 24, 2015 at 8:47 pm

That's kind of my point, it doesn't affect you or too much of the electorate, and I don't see any kind of major change happening out of a concern for future generations, especially when they've chosen to completely insulate themselves from most of the consequences of their descisions. Increased employment is a negative when your only concern is whether or not you can find a free parking spot.

Posted by stephen levy, a resident of University South,
on Aug 25, 2015 at 2:15 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

Todd, I do not know anyone whose only concern is finding a parking space but perhaps such people exist.

I do know and and observe lots of residents including older residents around the state who support funding for education bonds even though they will never have kids or grandchildren in school.

And I suspect that if there are people whose main concern is finding a parking space that they are also happy about national, state and regional economic growth that funds education, local public services as well as Social Security and Medicare.

I hope my blog is pretty clear that strong job growth does not solve all our problems but it does seem better to me than a recession or weak growth.

Posted by Blah, Blah, Blah, a resident of Evergreen Park,
on Aug 28, 2015 at 11:28 am

What jobs for people of color? And please, don't give me that educational gap argument. I am black, and like many other black people, I attended a world class university. Yet, the doors of opportunity still remain closed.

(portion deleted)

Posted by tsk, tsk, a resident of another community,
on Aug 28, 2015 at 7:28 pm

"portion deleted" again! Heaven help us if we have any controversy that rattles people's cages.

". . . and real wages are below 2007 levels in many occupations." So what good is job growth to those people? For sure, they can't live around here. My question is, given the considerable growth in local wealth and profits, why aren't ALL wages rising? Yes, I know the answer and so does everyone. Now, what are we going to do about it?

Posted by retiree, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights,
on Aug 29, 2015 at 8:10 am

@ Todd - we're a retired couple who are very active in our community, in ways we couldn't when we were working for pay. We care very much about education and about the ability of the peninsula infrastructure to keep pace with growth. We are not alone in wanting to conserve resources, to support high quality education (for lots more reasons than a big one - to keep property values high), and to make sure the infrastructure (roads, schools, sewers, etc.) and resources (water, air quality) receive proper stewardship. That might mean pacing jobs growth. Yes, Steven, some growth is better than a recession but too much at once is problematic.

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